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Connecticut Better Business Bureau reinstates Priceline

The name-your-own-price e-tailer is reinstated as a member of the Connecticut Better Business Bureau after customer complaints got the company bounced out earlier this year.

Priceline.com has been reinstated as a member of the Connecticut Better Business Bureau after being bounced out earlier this year because of consumer complaints.

Priceline said it has enhanced its Web site technology and customer service. For example, the site now shows customers buying airline tickets the total amount they will be charged, including all taxes and fuel surcharges.

The Connecticut Better Business Bureau said Wednesday it was reinstating the Norwalk, Conn., company because it "aligned its business in accordance with the tenets" of the consumer advocate agency.

Priceline, which lets consumers name their own price for items such as airline tickets and hotel rooms via the Web, will receive the organization's seal of approval effective immediately. The company also said it named Robert Abrams, former New York state attorney general, as a customer relations adviser. Abrams will give the company guidance on its products and business practices.

The reinstatement of Priceline comes after a battery of negative news for the company in recent months. This week the company's Australian unit, Myprice, closed before it launched because of rising technology costs. Earlier this month, the company cut 11 percent of its staff and halted plans to expand into additional services. It also ended discussions about entering the market in Japan.

The company also had staff reductions earlier this fall and lost four key executives, including chief financial officer Heidi Miller and Maryann Keller, the head of Priceline's automotive services business.

Financially, the company warned investors in September that third-quarter revenues would not deliver on expectations. And the company's share price has been in steady decline this year, dropping from a high of about $104 to just above $1.

The Better Business Bureau is a nonprofit organization that provides consumers with information on companies' business practices and issues a seal of approval to mark a business' credibility.